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Spanish government crushes Catalan independence dreams – at a high price
2.10.17
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"Europe has had a rocky ride with referendums in recent years: think of Greece’s anti-austerity vote in 2015, or the Brexit shock and Italy’s failed constitutional referendum in December 2016. As the UK found with the 2014 Scottish independence vote, even holding a referendum at all can be highly destabilising to the traditional political order and political party systems.

But something different happened in Catalonia on October 1 2017: a referendum that in practice wasn’t a referendum at all. It was considered a referendum by the supporters of Catalan independence, but not their opponents – the Spanish government – who called it “illegal” – for the EU, or any known government in the world. The reported 42.3% turnout and near-90% vote for independence do not carry any meaningful legitimacy. Even for those who did turn out, anything approaching normal voting was prevented by a heavy and at times violent Spanish police presence.

(...)

The referendum-that-wasn’t may be over, but the stakes remain high. In the weeks and months to come, the crisis could lead to the fall of the Spanish government, and the Catalonian one at that. The dream of an imminent independent Catalan state has been shattered for now, but those Catalans who support independence are now more alienated from Spain than ever."

See: Spanish government crushes Catalan independence dreams – at a high price
(The Conversation, link)

Also: Catalan referendum: Clashes with police leave nearly 900 injured, says
Catalonia government
(The Independent, link):

"Almost 900 people were injured in clashes during an independence referendum banned by the Spanish government, Catalan authorities have said.

The region’s department of health said four people remained in hospital, including two in a serious condition.

Most of those injured – more than 380 – were being treated in Barcelona, followed by Girona, Lleida, Terres de l'Ebre and other regions of Catalonia."

And: Hundreds Injured as Spanish Police Beat Up Referendum Voters in Catalonia (Slate, link)

Plus (from before the referendum): The Ground War Over Catalonia Is Being Fought in Cyberspace (Bloomberg, link):

"Cyberspace has become an active front in the Catalan rebellion for independence as the Spanish government pulls down websites, police detain hackers and software developers and haul them into court to testify, and even Wikileaks founder Julian Assange wades into the fray.

Among the highest-profile raids and arrests that have occurred since early September was the Sept. 20 police search of Fundacio puntCAT, the institution that manages the ".cat" internet domain, and arrested Pep Masoliver, an official at the foundation. The foundation is “devoted to ensuring that Catalan –- a persecuted and maltreated language -- has its space in the digital world,” according to a statement of protest posted on the foundation’s website."

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